This is an extension of last chapter. I kind of wanted to continue with the four younger members of the team and have one last silly chapter before we get into all the other heavy stuff.
Reminiscing With the Freaks of Nature
"Henry, no more. I've been thoroughly humiliated and I know a few of your most embarrassing stories as well." Will said. His tone was almost good natured, but serious.
"Oh yeah, well Ashley knows more of them then you do and she is on my side." Henry informed Will menacingly.
Will sighed. "You know what, I am really going to enjoy this. Kate, did you know that Henry watched The Powerpuff Girls?"
Silence emanated from all around. Kate was shocked, Henry was mortified, and Ashley was…too innocent. Kate finally burst into laughter. "No way, Dude, I can totally see it."
Henry looked his blonde friends way. "I can't believe you told him that, Ash. That was a secret. You swore you would never tell. And by the way Will, it was three episodes and nothing else was on."
"Yeah, we really buy that Henry. In the day and age of two hundred channels and mountains of DVDs and books. Not to mention your addiction to video games and comics." Will put in.
"While Ash, was sharing one of my deepest darkest secrets, I bet she didn't drop this one from back in high school on you." Henry stated with an evil look in his eyes.
"Henry no. I didn't mean to tell him about your cartoon fetish. He was pestering me about vices and I just wanted him off my case…" Ashley began.
Henry interrupted her. "Ashley Magnus was a…Cheerleader."
If the revelation about Henry was flabbergasting, then what he had just told the others about Ashley was mind blowing. Her eyes went wide for only a moment then they narrowed in anger. "For all of twenty minutes, Henry. To be fair I didn't even know I was trying out. I thought it was a gym class exercise. When they handed me the uniform, I shoved it back at them and told them they were out of their damn minds."
Will had not known about Ashley's foray into the world of school spirit, nor had Kate. Both were guffawing at the blonde's misfortune.
"Okay, if you want to play it that way, Henry used to listen to the Spice Girls." Ashley told the others. The level of maturity from the beginning of the conversation had dropped significantly.
Henry's mouth dropped wide in disbelief. "SO DID YOU!"
"Yeah, but I was a thirteen year old girl. Big difference." Ashley explained. Will and Kate were laughing so hard at this point they could barely stand.
Helen looked into the microscope and sighed. Helping Tesla test the blood's viability was not what she had in mind when she had suggested going to the lab. She had been hoping that he could help her find a way to bring Bertha under control and find her a safe place.
"I know what you are thinking, Helen." Tesla said from across the room.
"Really. Have you developed psychic abilities now, as well." She said with a sarcastic flair.
"No, but I always was a perceptive genius. You think we should be working on your problem, before mine." Tesla guessed.
"Well, Nikola, I think that mine is a little more outstanding than yours." She said.
"I am more than willing to help you, but I will be better able to assist you if I am at my full potential. I am being selfish, but for very unselfish reasons." Tesla explained.
"Tesla, I am surprised that you didn't choke on those words." Gregory said as he entered the lab.
Tesla rolled his eyes. He really did not like Gregory Magnus very much and even less since Bhalasamm and the electrocution he had suffered there. "Hello, Gregory. Been controlled by any other underground superpowers bent on world dominations recently."
"Not recently, no. Have you been on a world domination kick lately, or did you get that out of your system already?" Gregory asked. Tesla took the question rhetorically and looked away in disgust.
"You know, I don't think even Ashley was this childish…when she was a child. Show some discretion. Both of you." Helen growled in frustration.
"You are right, my dear. I should be helping you to find a solution to your problem. As soon as Nikola has his fix and we are long past this mess with the Sanctuary Network, he will be out of our hair." Gregory said as he examined the blood sample that Helen had been studying. She simply rolled her eyes. They passed a while in silence, when another joined them.
"Have you run a comparative analysis of the before and after RNA mutations yet?" John asked. True enough he was no scientist, but he did know a few things after his brief time with Helen.
"And why would that be useful?" Nikola's acrimony was palpable.
John rolled his eyes. Why was he even bothering to explain this? They combined had more knowledge on biology than most people would ever dream of possessing. "DNA is transcribed into RNA to replicate. As the transcription process takes place, mutations can occur and what is vampirism if not…"
"One giant cellular mutation." Helen finished his thought.
The group stared at him in stunned awe. Finally Nikola spoke. "Helen, you told him to say that to sound smart didn't you?"
"No, Nikola, but I think he may be on to something." Magnus affirmed and she set to work.
Back on the north tower, the discussion had turned from trying to make each other cringe in shame to a one up contest. They sat in a loose grouping, with Ashley constantly shifting to look off to each side as if she was expecting an attack at any moment. In reality, that was exactly what she expected. The others were less vigilant, but just as worried even if they didn't want to show it.
"Okay," Will said. "What is the most annoying or stupid question you've been asked recently?"
Henry answered immediately with a significant look at Will. "And how does that make you feel?"
Kate waited only a second before saying, "This one."
Will rolled his eyes and answered his own call out. "Do you even know how to use that gun?"
The others laughed, not because they commiserated with Will, but because they were all guilty of asking him that in the past. "Alright," Ashley began. "I've got the mother of all stupid questions right here. Hey, weren't you dead?"
The others groaned in concession. It was pretty bad.
"I've got one. Worst band of all time?" Kate put in.
Ashley answered, "Creed."
Henry said, "Nickleback."
Kate added, "Hinder."
"Captain and Tenille." Will stated tentatively. The others laughed louder than ever.
"Will, you don't listen to much music do you?" Kate asked.
"I have my favorites and I stick to them." He defended himself. The others just gave him knowing looks. "Come on guys this isn't high school. Stop making fun of me."
"Ah, so you were unpopular in high school." Henry said in a put on Austrian accent.
"No, Henry. That was a slip of the tongue." Will groaned in irritation.
"Yeah, a Freudian slip of the tongue." Henry exclaimed. Will rolled his eyes and the girls went into hysterics.
Will felt he had to defend the popularity of his formative years. "I was not unpopular in high school. I had a lot of friends and I was on a lot of teams. I had good grades and my teachers loved me."
"Okay, Will, whatever you say." Ashley said.
"Well, what about you guys?" Will asked, trying to deflect the attention off of himself.
"I didn't go to high school." Kate said and left it at that.
Henry thought better than to ask her to elaborate. "I didn't do much in school. When I left I had a four point oh g.p.a. and an acceptance letter to M.I.T, but I decided to work for Doc Magnus instead."
"I got kicked out of school in the tenth grade." Ashley put in.
"What?" Will was shocked. Not because he thought that Ashley was so responsible, but because he thought Magnus would have killed her for getting kicked out of school.
"I didn't like school much and I loved going out at night and hunting Abnormals, so I slept through most of my classes and got the homework later. Some of the dumb guys in my classes didn't think it was fair that the teachers let it slide in my case. The truth was the fine instructors thought I was on drugs and didn't want to have to deal with it. Anyway, one the same dumb guys decided to hassle me about it at my locker. Long story short I broke his nose. I was suspended and mom decided that a less formal education was in order." Ashley explained.
"Your mom seriously let that go?" Will asked.
Henry answered for Ashley. "Yeah, well Magnus was saving up her chips to get Ash to go to college."
"She shouldn't even have bothered. I remember that she tried to hand me an application to U.S.C. and I just laughed in her face." Ashley chuckled.
"I kind of thought that you two would have been pretty cool back in the day." Will mused. Kate just rolled her eyes. "Well, I thought Ashley would be."
"What's that supposed to mean, Will?" Ashley got loud.
"Nothing,…it's just that you are a hot blonde and Henry… isn't. Attractiveness is usually a key factor in getting along in school." Will said.
"Then we know for sure you weren't popular in high school, Will." Ashley bit out.
Henry wasn't as offended as Ashley was on his behalf, mostly because he knew it was true. "No guys, the truth is Ashley or I could have been freaking models and nobody would have given us the time of day. We lived in the old creepy church in Old City and we were always missing school. This place absorbs your life and anything that you were going to be just kind of falls away." He finished.
His last statement sobered the gathering, because they all knew what he was talking about. They had each accomplished or could have accomplished great and mighty things on their own.
Now, they were all wondering if they were less than they had been.
"I think I am going to go see if I can help, the Doc." Henry said as he left.
"Me, too. Maybe Gregory, Tesla, and Druitt haven't killed each other yet." Will exited, too.
Kate got up and turned back to Ashley. "Do you need any help up here?"
"No, I'm fine." Her terse tone put Kate off a little and Ashley knew she had made a mistake. The dark haired woman was about to leave when Ashley spoke, "Kate, thanks for keeping them safe while I was gone."
"Wasn't me. Much as I would like to take credit for it." Kate denied.
Ashley rolled her eyes. "Look, I don't want to admit it, but if you hadn't been around then thing could have been really bad for them. This is the best that you are going to get from me right now, so just let me thank you."
Kate nodded and left. Ashley just sat and tried to think through the last few weeks of her life.
Three figures were moving slowly through the night. Their destination was not far now. They had moved quickly from their abandoned home sensing the upheaval of the hidden world. They had felt it themselves just a few days ago. Many lives were lost. Evil, misguided lives, but something else was taking its place.
Something darker and worse than what had come before it, was rising. Darkness always hid what it had in store. A new evil always replaced the old. If they hurried they might even be able to stop it from completely returning.
Okay well that is it for this chapter. I know it was a little vague and I know that everybody knows who the people at the end were, but at least this chapter is finally getting posted.